Enrique's Journey

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The cover of Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario.
Author Sonia Nazario
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-Fiction
Publisher Random House
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback & iTunes)
Pages 300 pp (English edition, hardback)
ISBN ISBN 978-0-8129-7178-1 (English edition, hardback)
OCLC 77617402
305.23089/687283073 B 22
LC Class E184.H66 N397 2007

First published in 2006, Enrique's Journey is a national best-seller by Sonia Nazario, about a 17-year-old boy from Honduras who makes the difficult journey from his hometown of Tegucigalpa to the United States in order to be reunited with his mother. It was first published in 2006 by Random House. The non-fiction book has been published in eight languages, and is sold both in English and Spanish in the United States.[citation needed]

It is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles in the Los Angeles Times published in 2002.[1]


Nazario spent nearly 5 years reporting and writing Enrique’s Journey. After doing months of research, she met the book's 17-year-old protagonist, Enrique, at a shelter for migrants in Nuevo Laredo. She spent time shadowing him there and hearing about his remarkable trip north. Nazario reconstructed Enrique's dangerous trek from Honduras to the U.S. by making the same 1,600-mile journey, much of it on top of 7 freight trains, up the length of Mexico. She then retraced his journey a second time. Each trip took 3 months.[citation needed]


When Enrique is five years old his mother, Lourdes, leaves Honduras to find a job in the United States. The move allows her to send money back home to Enrique so he can go to school past the third grade. Lourdes promises Enrique she will return quickly. But she struggles in America. Years pass. He begs for his mother to come back. Without her, he becomes lonely and troubled. When she calls, Lourdes tells him to be patient. Enrique despairs of ever seeing her again. After eleven years apart, he decides he will go find her. Enrique sets off alone from Tegucigalpa, with little more than a slip of paper bearing his mother’s North Carolina telephone number. Without money, he will make the dangerous and illegal trek up the length of Mexico the only way he can–clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains.

With gritty determination and a deep longing to be by his mother’s side, Enrique travels through hostile, unknown worlds. Each step of the way through Mexico, he and other migrants, many of them children, are hunted like animals. Gangsters control the tops of the trains. Bandits rob and kill migrants up and down the tracks. Corrupt cops all along the route are out to rob and deport them. To evade Mexican police and immigration authorities, they must jump onto and off the moving boxcars they call El Tren de la Muerte–The Train of Death. Enrique pushes forward using his wit, courage, and hope–and the kindness of strangers. It is an epic journey, one thousands of immigrant children make each year to find their mothers in the United States.


The series of Los Angeles Times articles that was the genesis of the book won more than 20 journalism awards.[citation needed]

Enrique's Journey has won both the 2006 Christopher Award and the 2006 California Book Award in Recognition of Literary Excellence, Silver Medal.[citation needed]

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